The heartbroken sister and father of missing mother-of-two Nicola Bulley say “her children need her home” and described being “stuck in a nightmare” since her disappearance.
Ms Bulley, 45, was last seen on Friday 27 January at around 9.15am on a footpath by the River Wyre in the Lancashire village of St Michael’s.
Her sister Louise Cunningham told Sky News: “If I’m being honest, it feels like I’m just stuck in a nightmare.
“We’re going round and round in circles trying to piece together what could have possibly happened.
“It’s like she’s just vanished into thin air. We just want her home, we need her home, her children need her home. It’s absolutely heartbreaking.”
In their first interview since Ms Bulley disappeared on Friday morning, her family have made an emotional appeal to anyone who may have seen her or knows where she is to come forward and speak to police.
Her father Ernie Bulley, 73, told Sky News of the “pain” the “close-knit family” are feeling.
“This has just emptied our lives at the minute, we just feel so empty,” he said.
“We appreciate everything everyone is doing to find her. The police have been brilliant, the local community has been outstanding. But at the end of the day we just want her back.”
He added: “We need the public to search their minds for anything they might have seen. The main thing is we want to find Nicola and get her back home.
“There are two young children there waiting for their mummy to come back. And if Nicola is out there and she’s watching this – come home, contact the police. We just want you back.”
Lancashire Constabulary have identified a potential witness they want to speak to and said they thought “the woman was in the area at the time” Ms Bulley went missing.
Daughters think their mummy will walk through door
Speaking of Ms Bulley’s two daughters, their grandfather told Sky News: “They know mummy is missing, but they also know she’s going to be coming home and that everyone’s looking for her.
“It’s only a matter of time that they’re thinking in their minds she will walk through that door.”
The family, who are originally from Essex, all now live in the north of England to be closer to Ms Bulley, a mortgage adviser, who moved there 25 years ago.
Her sister Louise said: “There’s got to be somebody out there that knows something.
“All we are asking is no matter how small or big, if there’s anything that you can remember that just doesn’t seem right then please reach out to the police. Please just get in touch and get my sister back.”
Timeline of Nicola’s disappearance
Lancashire Constabulary have now confirmed Nicola’s movements in the run-up to her disappearance on Friday 27 January.
8.43am – Nicola walked along the path by the River Wyre, having dropped her children off at school
8:50am (approximately) – A dog-walker – somebody who knows Nicola – saw her walking around the lower field with her dog. Their two dogs interacted briefly before the witness left the field via the river path
8.53am – She sent an email to her boss
9.01am – She logged into a Teams call
9.10am (approximately) – A witness – somebody who knows Nicola – saw her on the upper field walking her dog, Willow. Work is ongoing today to establish exactly what time this was
9.30am – The Teams call ended but Nicola stayed logged on
9.35am (approximately) – Nicola’s mobile phone and Willow were found at a bench by the river by another dog-walker.
Nicola’s mobile phone was found on a bench near where she disappeared and was still connected to a conference call when it was spotted.
Her dog, a springer spaniel called Willow, was found loose between the river and the bench.
She was last seen wearing a long black gilet jacket with a hood, black jeans and olive green ankle wellies. Her hair was tied into a ponytail.
As well as Inskip and St Michael’s on Wyre, she also has links to Thornton Cleveleys.